srailkb, You are correct that there is a risk and I edited my post to include that. However, I don't see the risk being high enough as to avoid wet scanning completely. The use of non-flammable Clarity fluid would alleviate the issue altogether.
Pouring out half the bottle into your scanner is hazardous, but that issue can be mitigated by unplugging your scanner and waiting for it to evaporate. I'm more worried about static discharge that could set your stamp alight regardless of what you are watermarking it on. I can't say that I have ever unintentionally ignited a stamp. However, I rarely fold my laundry while watermarking.
Your idea of using a camera such as on many phones does work, but doesn't allow for the higher contrast of wet scanning. Either method does help those that don't have good eyesight. An enlarged image can help greatly.
jkelley01938, Yes it is a backwards S! I made an image using arrows #2, 4, and 5 from my above illustration to point out the more visible areas:
Quote: you often need to view it through a color filer that absorbs the orange color...An orange filter that matches the ink color can work, but sometimes a deep red filter works better.
I tried mucking about in a photoshop-like program and found a blue filter (color opposite of orange) to bring out the watermark the best. A color like blue might not work best for physical filters:
Here I convertied the image to black and white and increased the contrast:
Those photoshop techniques do seem to make it easier to find a large watermark quickly, but I prefer the non-adjusted image to see the small areas. Maybe they'll help those that are colorblind?
Another resource for digital watermark enhancement is a site that I can't find right now. It took your image and then presented it with many different variations of modifying the color channels and maybe even colorspaces.
Edit: Found a SCF thread that shows manually how to do one of the methods that the site I'm looking for does: http://goscf.com/t/15246 Note that you don't have to have a negative capable scanner nor paid programs. Paint.Net with plugins works great for me.
Thanks for all the input! I've been using Clarity, but it evaporates so quickly and I still have difficulty finding W/Ms on some stamps even though I know they are there (e.g. p12 Wash-Franks). I have not tried wet scanning, though.
Quote: Never use alcohol, thinner, or corrosive solvent to clean the scanner. These chemicals can damage the scanner components as well as the case.
Additionally, scanner manufacturers recommend platen cleaning and polishing products that intentionally leave a coating on the glass. I am not sure that putting petroleum-based products on the glass would not removed and/or change the chemistry. Don
I see some disturbances but don't know what I'm seeing. Is it unused? For what its worth, I'm having a terrible time with these watermarks. Even with the Ronsonal I bought just today. Its better than Clarity but still difficult.
Jack, if its OK, let's wait and see what others think about the posted image before addressing other factors about the stamp. I really would like opinions about what is seen before revealing anything else that may influence it either pro or con. Again, I just can not see the watermark that's said to be there.
Dave, I see two ink-less spots that are dark enough to stand out. I can't see any darkened ares of color (absent of offset ink). To give more of an objective analysis I utilized the "Color to Alpha" plugin for Paint .NET to get this image.
The areas pointed out by the red arrows are the darkest areas of the paper that is inkless. The remaining orange red dots should match very closely to the ink offset on the back. Dave, can you post a dry scan of the back? Also a scan of the front could help. Many valuable clues exist other than the wet scan alone.
Unless those two dark spots are deeply penetrating black cancel marks, then you would have to scrutinize the tips of the perfs. Perf tips gradually get thinner due to the separation of two stamps by pulling them apart, so identifying a watermark becomes less possible the further out on the tip that you go. If the dark areas are deep black cancel marks and the tips hold up to better scrutiny, then you still might not be able to know if it is actually a 476A.
Read through the entire Ken Lawrence thread linked above to learn more about why no expertiser will certify as 476A any not-previously certified watermarkless perf 10 30c Franklin single. There are several reasons for their stance including a bit of nifty production history.
Don, That is a valid concern. I will have to research about platen coatings, but not all chemicals do harm. Epson doesn't list Naptha or Clarity specifically. The "spot test" that I mentioned earlier should take care of whether or not someone's watermarking fluid will hurt their scanner. There are many posts, blogs, sites, etc. that detail many happy wet scanning people.
Sorry to reply late, Went to dinner with my son and his family. They just drove in from Florida. Here is a dry scan of the back and a scan of the front. Ryan, I think your seeing the pre-cancel ink with your highlight.
Dave, Yup, I am seeing parts of the pre-cancel that penetrated deeply from the front towards the back in some areas. The possible offset ink part of my image is fairly accurate except for the top frame line and the dots in the lower right perfs. I need to do more experimentation.
Given the above, your stamp probably has no watermark at all. However, a lack of any sign of a SL watermark on a single stamp doesn't mean that it COULD NOT be on watermarked paper. SL watermarks can rarely be positioned such that no watermark, despite being SL watermarked, will be present on a single stamp.
From your post, you have submitted it twice seeking certification for #476A. After reading the Ken Lawrence thread posted above, does it make sense that your stamp cannot ever be certified as a #476A? I am curious to know if your money spent on certification resulted in a written explanation as to why no one can accurately certify your stamp given the special circumstances of the #476A. If not, then I believe that an injustice has occurred. If one spends the money for certification on a misidentified stamp, then they should have at least a reply that details why the decision was made one way or another.
These are my viewpoints. What are yours concerning this particular situation?
Ryan, If this were an issue of a stamp to be determined as to whether it has a double-line or single-line watermark, the absence of a discernable watermark would most probably cause the stamp in question being called a single-line watermarked stamp, by default, knowing that double-line watermarks are substantially larger and more identifiable than single-line watermarks, and the improbability of a portion on a double-line not being present. But, since we are talking about a #476A vs a #439, its a much more complex issue. It becomes an issue, in a way, similar in context to a #315 vs. a trimmed #304. In the context where its quite controversial, expertizing services are not willing to certify for reasons of uncertainty. Regarding the #476A, I'm sure there is an argument being made that after many years of trying to prove or disprove the existence, never have any used copies been considered or certified because of the potential of single-line watermarks not being present on watermarked paper, or masked by cancellation. If I'm not mistaken, its not known exactly how many #476A sheets could have been or were printed in 1917. There is such a small number of known copies which seems a bit illogical that more should not exist, and that used copies are possible. Both of the certs. I have are over 11 years old. One doesn't state anything other than that the stamp is a #439. The other says its a #439 with the watermark at the bottom. I did e-mail about that one, as to just where on the bottom the watermark was located, and received no response. I think until, and if, the controversy about whether or not #476A does exist, then there will never be any used copies considered for certification. And, even if it is established that #476A does exist, used copies may still have a hard time being certified, if ever. For whatever one may think of it, Ken Lawrence gives his reasoning for the existence of the #476A (Lynn's Stamp News, July 20, 2015). Whether or not there will be a new effort to scientifically resolve the issue or not is unclear at this point. All this having been said, I still can't see/determine if there is a watermark on this stamp
Ah, I follow you now. Thanks, the article was a good read.
With the help of the new scans, I can only find one area other than the cancel that could be a watermark. All of the ink offset has been "turned" to blue-black. The second image has pretty accurate "S" overlaid in red:
Regardless, it just seems too subtle of a mark to be considered determinate. Perhaps it is a weak ghost watermark that the article describes. I'm of the opinion that there is no watermark, though expertisers may have better tricks up their sleeves.
Another nifty thing about wet scanning is that it allows you to see the direction of perforation. Note the grey (thin) areas on the same side of the perf holes for the rows and columns.
Ryan, I've seen what you are referencing as a possibility for a watermark, however, I'd think that were it a watermark, it would show up much more predominately on the 3rd-5th perf. tips and in the white (non-inked) areas of the "3" and the "NTS" of cents? Perhaps it doesn't due to the watermark, in the manufacturing of the batch of paper this stamp was printed on, being more weakly impressed that normal? Or, perhaps it is a "ghost" watermark. I suppose, as you state, there may have been other methods used to determine a watermark when the certs. were issued, now nearly 12 years ago (Dec. 2015). Anyway, it makes for a good discussion and speculation. Perhaps after a while, I may send it in again and see what happens--but not in the near future. On Richard Frajola's chat board, there is a good discussion, including Ken Lawrence, about #476A. He precludes the Linn's article with his position, and there are several other well respected folks chiming in on the discussion including Scott Trepel from Siegel's Auction. Good read. The topic starts around 7/16/15 if your interested in checking it.